Can Rich Call Data solve incorrect spam call labeling?
Enterprise callers and the voice service providers that serve them have been reporting problems with their calls being labeled as spam. Some are asking the FCC for help, and the Commission has opened an inquiry on the matter. Would Rich Call Data help? Let’s have a look.
Unified Office representatives met with FCC staff and filed an ex parte notice with these points:
- Unified Office is a communications technology company primarily serving auto dealerships, restaurants, dental and medical practices and the hospitality industry.
- Within the last year, the company has been receiving complaints from customers that their calls were labeled as potential spam or that the customer’s name had been replaced with other labels, such as the city and state associated with the calling telephone number.
- As a result, calls were not answered because of distrust of the calling party, and legitimate businesses’ branding and reputations were being harmed.
- Unified Office has been able to get some mislabeled telephone numbers corrected but the problem persists and seems to have been increasing since March 2023.
In their meeting and ex parte notice, Unified Office made the following suggestions:
- Customer name, or Rich Call Data when ready, should be part of the STIR/SHAKEN attestation process.
- Transit and terminating carriers should be prohibited from changing the name in the Caller ID field.
- If authenticated calls are labeled as spam, the Originating Service Provider should be notified and provided an opportunity to correct the condition that caused spam identification or resolve the issue with its customer.
- Originating carriers that abuse the process should run the risk of losing their STIR/SHAKEN certification.
Let’s review these suggestions.
Rich Call Data
Rich Call Data (RCD) is available to use. It’s described in ATIS-1000094, which was approved on April 12, 2021.
TransNexus has provided Rich Call Data support in our software for years. It’s a straightforward process:
- Configure the RCD caller names.
- The STIR/SHAKEN Authentication Service adds RCD name claims during the PASSporT creation process.
- The STIR/SHAKEN Verification Service is configured to use RCD name claims as caller name.
The following figures illustrate the process.
The Rich Call Data feature enables the voice service provider to configure RCD name claims for calling phone numbers, as shown in Figure 1.
During call authentication, the STI Authentication Service will add rcd nam claim to the SHAKEN PASSporT based on the calling number, as shown in Figure 2.
During STI Verification, the STI Verification Service can put the rcd nam claim value in P-Asserted-Identity, as shown in Figure 3. (This is a configurable option—there are various ways to do this.) The software can also be configured to insert a [V] prefix in the caller name to indicate that the caller ID information was successfully verified for this call.
- This is a simple, standardized framework for communicating the caller’s name.
- The standards indicate that RCD information should be based on vetted information.
- A Know-Your-Customer process should be used to ensure trust.
- RCD claims must only be added to calls that are being authenticated with full A-level attestation.
- By signing the PASSporT with RCD claims, the SHAKEN signer accepts responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of the information. This ensures accountability.
- Because the RCD claims are part of the PASSporT, they are protected from tampering by the cryptographic digital signature creation and verification processes.
So far, Rich Call Data sounds like a great way to help enterprises present their brands to the people they call. However, there are a few potential pitfalls to keep in mind:
- RCD is not yet widely used.
- We found in our STIR/SHAKEN statistics from May 2023 that only 30% of calls arrive at termination with STIR/SHAKEN information intact. Many calls encounter non-IP segments along their call path, which causes the STIR/SHAKEN information to be lost.
- RCD usage is completely optional. Terminating providers are not required to use the RCD claims in the PASSporTs they receive and verify.
Notice of inquiry
The FCC launched a Third Notice of Inquiry on robocalls (CG Docket No.17-59) on May 18, 2023. This inquiry includes questions about call labeling (paragraphs 110–112). They ask “[I]s there anything the Commission can do to improve the availability and accuracy of call labeling, or make it more valuable to consumers and accurate for callers?
TransNexus is a leader in developing innovative software to manage and protect telecommunications networks. The company has over 20 years’ experience in providing telecom software solutions including toll fraud prevention, robocall mitigation and prevention, TDoS prevention, analytics, routing, billing support, STIR/SHAKEN and SHAKEN certificate services.
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